Patra's Other Place

I started out with Patra's Place, primarily dedicated to my linen collection and stitching projects. But I kept getting side-tracked, so I decided to create Patra's Other Place for anything not related to embroidery topics. So you now have a choice. If you are interested in me, read this. If you only want to see my linen and stitching, visit Patra's (original) Place! (Please note that by clicking on any of the photos, they will be enlarged to fill your computer screen.)

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Location: Melbourne, Vic., Australia

I am married to Ken. We have no children except two cats and a collection of finches, canaries and a dozen hens.

Friday, May 22, 2015

More photos of Topsy.





Topsy hasn't been up on our bed for about four years.  Since Tiger arrived, actually.  He decided at a very early age that he was going to sleep with us, and they had a few scuffles on the end of the bed for a few weeks, then she apparently gave up and went off to sleep elsewhere.  So we were surprised to find her here the other day, tucked herself in behind the pillow under the bedspread.



Tiger was also surprised, or maybe just concerned - who knows what cats are thinking?   He got up there and gazed at her for quite a while, before hopping down and wandering off again.

Ken is showing his age these days - or is it just the photo?  Anyway, an old man with an old cat.  Well she is 84 in human terms.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Today's pictures of Topsy.

Rolling around in a sunny spot on the patio.  The white bit on her side and under the chin is where she was shaved to have her chest cavity drained of fluid.   There is another white bit, but that is inside her ear, which is actually pink.



 Love this shot above!  Both cats love sitting up here as they have a perfect view of the whole yard.  They can see the back door, the chook house and aviaries and the back gate.  They don't miss a thing!

Back inside.  Topsy has always liked to sit at this window behind the curtain and under the chair on a sunny day.  So I put the lambswool mat down there, and some food to tempt her.

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Death all around me....

What a shocker of a week.  Last week, one of Ken's aunties (not a blood relative, but a long time family friend) died suddenly at the age of 98.  She was in a nursing home as she had dementia, and she fell out of bed one night and cracked her skull.  An ambulance was called, carted her off to hospital where they patched her up and sent her home.  The next night she died.

We were notified in the morning by a cousin.  Later that day, one of my friends rang to tell me her brother had committed suicide.  She is American born, married to an Aussie, and has lived here for 30 + years.  Her brother had never married, and was the carer for their mother, who has dementia.  Their sister lives too far away to do much, and V. has just had hip operations that prevent her from flying back to the USA, so she was understandably beside herself. 

That night, I had an email from M and L who are Bali on holiday.  They had just received news that their neighbour's daughter had died.  She had advanced cancer, so it wasn't a shock, but very sad just the same.

Ken has had ongoing health issues related to the shingles which developed in March.  His breathing has been affected, so today he saw his lung specialist.  Dr G. checked him over and said he couldn't tell anything from the physical examination, but organised a vascular ultra sound and a CT scan, to check for blood clots, and possible nerve damage from the shingles.  If nothing comes of those, it just means his lungs are deteriorating further and the symptoms will continue.

Our 12 year old black cat Topsy has been coughing recently.  We automatically thought "fur balls" and made sure she was brushed every night, and bought cat food supposedly to help eliminate fur balls.  But she started to lose weight, went off her food and was lethargic.  So we took her to the vet last week.  $273 later she had been examined and had blood tests, but the vet said she would need to be X rayed, as he could tell she had respiratory problems.  Ken said she had probably caught COPD off him and suggested dosing her with some of his medications.  Joke, Joyce.

Today we dropped her off at the vet in the morning, and were told to collect her at 4 pm.  He called us early in the afternoon to say that it was worse than what he had hoped for.  Topsy has fluid in her chest cavity (not the lungs) which is mostly likely caused by heart failure or a tumour on the heart.  He couldn't tell from the X rays because the heart couldn't be clearly seen through the fluid.  They drained a bit of fluid from her and sent it away for analysis, and he said they could put her under a general anaesthetic and drain the rest of the fluid from her body, but most cats they have done this to, end up returning to the vet in a couple of weeks with the fluid built up again. 

So, we brought her home with drops and special food to try and eliminate the fluid through her bladder, but he warned us she probably only has a couple of weeks left before she will be unable to breathe.  The funniest thing happened when we got her home.  Ken opened the carry cage very carefully, prepared to lift her out gently, but as soon as the wire door was open, she shot out out like a little black rocket and ran behind the couch to gaze out of the window!  Lots of cuddles and photo sessions over the next few weeks....

Friday, April 24, 2015

ANZAC Day 25th April 2015


Friday, April 17, 2015

Birthday week continued.

The week has improved somewhat since I posted on Sunday.  My back improved dramatically, helped by Aldi's Shiatsu  machine, bought the week previously!  So I was able to give my talk at the Probus club on Monday.  It was only a few minutes, explaining how and when I started patchwork and quilting, and what led me into making quilts for charity.  Then I introduced Yaso who spoke for over an hour about her work in PNG, and the audience was enthralled.  I doubt if they'd had a speaker like that before, and they gathered around her afterwards to say how much they enjoyed her talk.

On Tuesday I drove over to Blackburn to collect my birthday present.  Ken was supposed to be with me as it is his gift to me, but he was having a bad day with his breathing, so I suggested that he stay in bed while I went over there on my own.  Just as well, because the artist who painted the picture for us invited me to stay for a cuppa, and we found so much to talk about I stayed there for about 2 hours!  Ken was grumpy when I got home, telling me he'd made three phone calls to friends because he had nobody to talk to...WTF!!!  He was asleep when I left - how did I know he'd wake up the minute I walked out the door?  Men...
This is the painting.  Marilyn is an 'amateur' artist who paints to relax.  I have only seen one or two other artists who can successfully paint glass (bottles, jars, etc) like this, and one of them is Hilary Jackman, whose work is in the National Gallery  (as well as in Eltham where she was born) and most of her paintings are priced into the thousands of dollars...  Marilyn was reluctant to sell this picture, so she painted it again for me so she could keep the first one!  We have to get it framed in due course, then find a spot for it to hang.

On my birthday (Wednesday), Ken had an appointment at the Austin hospital for his regular defibrillator check up in the morning, and after that we stopped in Eltham to do a bit of shopping, then came home to the sound of hammering and banging while our side fence was being rebuilt.   It had been there for 40 years, so it's done well, but was literally falling down, so our neighbours agreed with us that the whole thing should be replaced.  It was strange in the yard when the old fence had been pulled down.  The boys next door came out to play, and thought it was great to have this HUGE back yard for a few hours!


We went out to dinner that night with our friends Louise and Mark, as we have been doing for many years, as their wedding anniversary is on the same day as my birthday.  We went to a new restaurant (actually an old one under new management) and had a great night.  Nice food and lots of laughs.. Stupid me, I forgot to get the camera out until we'd finished the meal, hence the empty table!  Ken and I are on the left, for those readers who don't know what we look like ;-)

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Birthday week.

We are having one of our side fences pulled down tomorrow, and a new one built.  I was moving stuff around on the patio to clear enough space for the workers to bring timber into the back yard, when I lifted something that was far too heavy for me, and...oh, my back....Ken came out and told me off for doing it without him, but he's had his own problems with the shingles, so I didn't ask for his help.  La la la....we are both getting old.  I've also got a stye on my right eyelid which is starting to disappear but is still irritating, and looks horrible.

I'm due to present a talk tomorrow (Monday) at Warrandyte Probus club, about how I got involved making quilts for charity.  Ken's cousin Yaso is also going to speak about how the quilts I have collected for her are distributed among the native PNG tribes for their babies.  Ken rang her tonight to advise her that I  may not be there tomorrow, if my back is still bad, as there is no way I could drive, let alone stand up and give a talk, the way I feel now!  I've taken two of Ken's super strength pain killers, and tomorrow I'll take two Voltaren tablets, so I'm hoping all those will ease the pain and allow me to get to the meeting, as I've been looking forward to it.

On Tuesday we are supposed to be collecting a painting that was commissioned by us last year.  I should be okay if Ken drives over there.  It is going to be my birthday present from him.  My birthday is the next day, and in the morning we will be at the Austin Hospital for Ken's quarterly defib. check.  If we are both feeling okay and the weather is nice, we might go somewhere for lunch.  We are going out to dinner with friends that night, so I'd better be feeling a whole lot better than I do now, otherwise I will be a bag of misery.

Well, now that I've done my whinge for the week, I got something achieved today before I stuffed my back.  I made three handmade cards for the DTE swap coming up later this month, so I'm all organised.  You can see them on my craft blog here.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Montsalvat, the Eltham artists' colony.

Every time I visit Montsalvat, I enjoy it more.  I've been there a few times in the past few years to view exhibitions, or just have coffee and cake with a friend.  I went there today with a friend who called me last night to tell me that the current exhibition was closing, so we should go and see it before we miss out. I'm so glad she called - it was a perfect day, the exhibitions were great, and the coffee and cake delicious!
The peacocks and peahens that roam the grounds are quite tame.  This poor fellow has been moulting and lost his tail, and all that is left is fluffy bits!

Not supposed to take photos of the exhibits, but I wanted to show this to Ken, as I'd like to buy it, but need his approval for the price ticket of nearly $800!

Some views of the buildings in the grounds of Montsalvat.





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